COP 27 on loss and damage

19:00 by Cornelius Holtorf

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) held in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, featured among many other events a session entitled “Losing the Irreplaceable: Loss & Damage, Culture & Heritage” which was arranged as part of the Resilience Hub on 17 November 2022.

This session, which Cornelius Holtorf attended digitally, was about cultural dimensions of loss and damage as a result of climate change. It asked: How does one grieve from the loss of the irreplaceable? What is the price of cultural extinction? Does loss mean the same thing in every culture?

In this perspective, heritage represents something irreplaceable that needs to be saved from loss and protected from damage.

But another way of looking at some of these issues is by asking: can heritage help us to increase resilience and adapt culture and heritage to changing natural conditions? What heritage is being created as a result of climate change? How can we enhance wellbeing of future generations despite major transformations we anticipate? 

As Hannah Fluck of the National Trust in the UK explained, one innovative strategy forward is focussing on “adaptive release”.

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